Artist Georgia Tucker, who showed at the end of 2019 as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial, has been busy working on a new commission as part of the BBC New Creatives scheme. Conniveo, the resulting exhibition, comprised of a VR and physical installation, opens at Stryx on 6 March and then tours.
Can you tell us more about the starting point for the Conniveo project?
Rural Media’s website advertised the BBC New Creatives scheme, co-funded by Arts Council and BBC Arts. They have been after mainly film and audio artists but also interactive artworks which includes VR. I applied for it with a project idea last June. The project wasn’t called Conniveo at the time but the idea was very similar – about plastic pollution and the oceans. I found out in August that I’d been selected for a commission so that I could develop the VR and physical installation sides of the exhibition which will be on display at Stryx.
What will the Stryx exhibition involve?
Everything for the physical installation has been made using recycled materials and sourced environmentally, apart from the VR technology, so that the experience isn’t affected. I’m incorporating fishing nets that have been donated by people who collect plastic waste from beaches and scaffolding as it’s always re-used. The scaffolding installation will house the VR. Some prints on display have been taken from the VR – digital renders that you wouldn’t see when navigating the virtual environment such as under the sea bed and from above. I’ve made a light box from a broken TV. I have also produced an animation of the experience as there is only space for one headset and one area to walk around in. It means that people who can’t view VR, or don’t want to, can watch the animation.
Is the exhibition touring?
Yes, it’s going to be shown at Birmingham School of Art 6 – 17 April and then to Backlit Gallery 5 – 14 June in Nottingham, which will be a group show that has an open call out at the moment, and then at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth for the whole of August. It’s the first time the aquarium have worked with an artist. The room where it will be shown has a wall which forms part of an actual aquarium with fish swimming past. Conniveo will then be touring around for the rest of the year in other locations.
What does the open call out involve?
Not necessarily VR, but artists exploring environmental concerns. I want to bring together people who have similar views but shown in different media. The open call is still live and images and statements can be emailed to me. It would be helpful if people sent the work they want to show rather than a portfolio. The work selected needs to work alongside what I’m showing and I will pick my personal favourites. Scale of work will determine how many others are selected. Rural Media and a curator are assisting with selection.
What impact do you hope this work will have in terms of the issues it raises?
Rural Media have helped me with marketing, particularly how to push my social media and as a result I’ve got meetings with some large organisations including charities who want to use the work for their lobbying efforts. The environmental impact is that VR helps immerse the viewer and forces them to engage with the topic more actively. I’ve been surprised that a lot of people that are following the work are not necessarily interested in VR but are following it because of the work’s environmental content.
And the impact in terms of your practice?
I’ve again got meetings and potential commissions with some very large companies and even though VR has been around for a long time it is still somehow new. These companies are looking at their environmental impact, developing schemes for going greener and are therefore after the combination of the technology, the artwork and the content. These experiences have made me change the way I think about my practice in terms of making a living from it. I didn’t expect there to be corporations hiring creatives but it seems to be the way forward. A lot of companies are saying to me that in the future you may be able to replace some job roles but that they can’t replace creatives.
Applications for the open call can be emailed directly to Georgia at firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday 1 March.